From John Austin Reeve to [Mary Fletcher]. He is returning with thanks the two books that she lent him for the perusal of his friends and would also like to add that he was personally grateful for the message that she sent to Reeve at the same time with his servant. Spiritual and theological matters are discussed in great detail.
Reeve states that the Catholic Church is the only Church in which Jesus is to be ‘found, known, loved, possessed and enjoyed…It is therefore Madam of the utmost importance that we all know this Church and her doctrines; and do faithfully in practice as well as in belief adhere to her and her decisions…’ Reeve has therefore taken this opportunity of sending to Fletcher a copy of the Catholic creed ‘and the grounds on which her doctrine is built: out of the profession of which Salvation is not to be had……I have also accompanied with it, The Reasons why a Catholic cannot quit his faith; and which same reasons also bear strongly upon every one (not already so happy) to hasten to enter into the Communion of the Catholic Church…If in the great mercy and grace of God, he should please to use me…as his servant to bring you into the bosom of his Holy Catholic Church, I shall rejoice exceedingly in the Lord…
- John Austin Reeve (1758-1813) was the son of James and Helen Reeve or Reeves of London – his mother’s maiden name was Barry. He was educated at Sedgley Park School and from 1775 at Douay College in France. After ordination as a Roman Catholic priest, Reeve returned to England and served as chaplain to Francis Canning of Foxcote in Warwickshire. In 1801 he took over a parish in Newport and transferred in 1806 to Madeley in Shropshire where he died in February 1813. During his time in Madeley, Reeve engaged in friendly correspondence on theological matters with the noted Methodist Mary Fletcher. Source: Biographical Dictionary of the English Catholics compiled by Joseph Gillow (Burns and Oates: London, c.1900) and MAM/FL/6/4 (MARC)